Paper vs. The Digital World

No, this is not going to be one of those stories about forgetting to back something up or losing something on the computer or the computer crashing. I’ve been through those stories before. As a matter of fact, it was less than six months ago when I thought I had lost significant personal information and wound up purchasing a 500 gb external hard drive.

I have learned how to become functional in this digital world, able to do what I need in order to keep up with the ever-changing technologies. I’ve learned how to adapt to the Digital Age through USB storage drives and blogging and Windows Movie Maker and Microsoft Office, etc.

What I need is a better storage and filing system for paper.

Over a year ago, I started a novel in a more literary vein. It was the story of a widower who takes a cross-country trip along the Lincoln Highway and reflects on his life and learns a few things as well. It was going to be an homage to the American Road trip and undying love. I had done a great deal of research on the Lincoln Highway as well as other scenic byways throughout the United States as a background for this couple who used to visit sections of the country by driving over fascinating roadways. I wrote in a blog entry or two about writing this non-crime piece, taking great care to provide detail and emotion and sensitivity. I was making some headway on it after not being able to proceed and getting feedback from Jennifer Neri, a wonderfully compassionate and sensitive writer from Canada whose blog I follow. I got down over 18,000 words.

I can’t find the paper. I can’t find the notes. And, unlike digital media, there is no IT person around that will be able to scour through my files, office, or even house to help me find them.

The notes, the papers, are either somewhere in the files/office/house in an inappropriate location or they have been accidentally incorporated into a pile that has since been relegated to a compactor or incinerator.

Now, I know enough about the story to proceed but not enough to finish without trying to replicate the sensibility of what I was attempting to achieve. And with other projects piling up, it is difficult to devote much time to sending out a search party.

I just find this all rather ironic. This is not a digital or technological issue. It is one relating to my own mental faculties. How can I back-up my brain?



  1. lawrenceez said,

    January 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    How awful! I’m really sorry you’ve lost your work. I would be going mad.


  2. tikiman1962 said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I actually had that happen one time before in 1990, well before the Digital Age. A hand written first draft of a novel inside a very nice briefcase was stolen from the trunk of a car in NYC. I’m sure they were after the briefcase. I imagine them finding clippings of serial killers and wondering who they might have messed with.


  3. lawrenceez said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Yes, sounds good, and serves them right!


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